Outdoor mounted TV antennas will always outperform attic mounted antennas, but sometimes it is desired to mount an antenna in an attic for asthetic or lightning reasons. Before spending a lot of time up in your attic, only to be disappointed with the end TV reception results, there are some important things you should know in order to get the best possible TV reception from an attic mounted antenna.
The first thing that you should know is that we do not recommend attic mounted antennas for areas that are more than 30 miles away from the desired TV station(s) broadcast antenna, and even in these situations there should be very little terrain to block or weaken the signal between the transmitters and your house. Since TV and radio signals get weaker the further you get away from the broadcast antennas, you will need an antenna that has more "gain" (which usually means a larger antenna) the farther you are from the source of the signal. This leads into the next consideration...attic space and the lack of.
Most attics simply do not have enough available space in order to install the right size of antenna needed for most areas. For most attic installations we recommend the
Winegard HD-7084P VHF/UHF TV antenna. If you look at the physical dimensions of this antenna you will notice how it takes up a considerable amount of space in the attic - especially when it should be mounted at least 3' off of the floor/ceiling joists).
A Winegard HD-7084P VHF/UHF TV antenna and Channel Master 7778 preamplifier mounted on a 3 ft tripod in an attic 20 miles from the broadcast TV towers
The more gain an antenna has, the more sensitive it is going to be when it comes to pointing it towards the direction of the desired TV stations. For this reason, it is extremely important that it points towards the direction of the desired TV stations. And if you have desired TV stations in different directions then you will either need two (or more) antennas combined or you will need a rotator (which very rarely is there enough space in an attic to accommodate the turning radius of a good quality antenna).
When you go to find the best location for the antenna in your attic it is very important to find a location where the antenna will be able to point towards the desired TV station(s) so the incoming signal will not be blocked by aluminum siding, foil-backed insulation, metal roofs, chimneys, ducts, or other metallic objects that could have a huge impact on how well your stations are received. The antenna should also be kept as far away as possible from electrical lines in the attic or else the VHF-LO channels 2-6 could end up with interference on the picture.
As mentioned before, the further you get from the source of the signal, the weaker those signals get. This is especially true for attic mounted installations, since the average asphalt shingled roof will reduce the incoming signal by at least 3 dB. Because of this, nearly every attic mounted antenna that is more than 10 miles away from the broadcast antennas will need a pre-amplifier. This inexpensive, easy to install part is as important to good TV reception with attic mounted antenna installations as the quality of the coaxial cable.
There are many variables involved in selecting the right preamp for your area, and because of that we will not sell anyone a preamp without asking a few questions, such as where do you live, what type of antenna do you have and what the terrain is like between you and the desired TV stations. This information helps us determine which preamplifier should be used for your area so that the preamp doesn't end up causing more problems that it solves.
So if installing an antenna outside is not an option, you will at least know all of the guidlines to follow in order to get the most out of your attic mounted antenna. If you have questions about an attic mounted TV antenna or need technical assistance, please contact us and we will be happy to assist you.